Kelli working from a sailboat day A Day in the Life of a Digital Nomad Working from a Sailboat

A Day in the Life of a Digital Nomad Working from a Sailboat

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While scenes don’t usually make the vlog, we spend the majority of our Monday to Thursday working while living on a boat.

Currently, we are sailing in the Mediterranean, which sounds like a pretty exotic place to work from, but the truth is that the day-to-day is pretty mundane and routine. That being said, there’s no denying that occasionally, there are moments that break up the day that you would be unlikely to get working from an office.

Finding a secluded island, catching a fish, or sailing with dolphins are just some of the wild experiences that might transform a typical Tuesday into something more. Of course, on the flip side, an unforecast storm or engine breakdown can quickly de-rail a productive work day.

In this post, we’ll describe a normal day working as a digital nomad on a sailboat. How we actually structure our day ultimately depends on how much sailing we have to do, what the weather is doing, and what our work week looks like. This is just a rough guide, and the actual itinerary will be modified and changed day by day depending on our needs. At the end of the day, being a digital nomad, especially on a boat, requires a fair bit of flexibility.

A Day in the Life Working from a Sailboat as a Digital Nomad

6:00 am – Wake Up, Check the Anchor and the Weather

As long as we’re not catching up on sleep after a terrible night on anchor, we try to wake up early and get a jump on the day.

The first thing you need to do on a boat is double-check that you didn’t move anywhere overnight and see what the weather has in store for you.

6:30 am – Breakfast and Plan our Day

If the anchor has held and the weather looks good, it’s brekky time.

Our mornings almost invariably start with the same thing: omelets, wraps, and coffee in the moka pot. When it comes to food, we are creatures of habit, and this simple hot breakfast is something we look forward to every morning. Whoever gets out of bed first usually cooks.

Over breakfast, we plan our day based on the weather and if we have any sailing or boat jobs to do during the day.

Assuming we are anchored or moored somewhere with phone reception, we usually jump into a bit of work right after breakfast.

7:00 am – 10:00 am – Work Session One

sailing boat sun set kelli A Day in the Life of a Digital Nomad Working from a Sailboat

We find we are most productive in the morning, and the first work session of the day is usually devoted to getting some heavy lifting out of the way. For me, that means writing for the website or video editing, and for Kelli, that means writing memos for her job as an accountant.

Sailing in the Adriatic, the weather is calm and stable in the mornings and often builds during the day, allowing us to work comfortably in the morning and often sail in the afternoon.

10:00 am – 12:00 pm – Exercise

As a rule, we start to lose a little focus or get a little frustrated around 10 or 11, depending on what time we get going in the morning, and this is a sign to take a break. We’ll grab a snack, usually fruit and yogurt, and get ready to go outside.

Where we are will dictate what kind of movement we plan for our day. Maybe it is a row to shore and a long walk or run, going for a snorkel, yoga on the beach, or finding a gym if we are moored near a town. Sometimes, if the weather is bad and we don’t want to get off the boat, we’ll just manage some situps on board.

12:00 pm – 12:30 pm – Lunch

Lunch for us usually means leftovers from dinner. We’ll heat up whatever we have in the fridge and eat on board. From time to time, if there is something good around, we’ll go ashore and eat out, but typically it’s leftovers.

12:30 pm – 3:00 pm – Daily Tasks

Life on a boat means there is always something to be done. Whether we are sailing for our next destination, fixing something that has broken, or taking care of chores on land, the after-lunch lull is usually the perfect opportunity to tick something off.

If the weather is going to turn, we may need to head for the protection of a marina. Or if we have good wind, it might make sense to use it to sail further along the coast.

If we are near a town with a chandlery store, it’s usually a good time to tick something off our neverending list of boat jobs.

If we are anchored, the weather is nice, and we are on top of everything, we might just fish off the boat or lay on a nearby beach and read, or we might dive back into work so we can relax later in the afternoon.

3:00 pm – 6:00 pm – Work Session 2

Kelli remote work corporate nomad sailboat A Day in the Life of a Digital Nomad Working from a Sailboat

Assuming we completed our primary tasks in the morning, the afternoon can be dedicated to peripheral tasks; in my case, it might be collating videos, writing newsletters, or social media posts. If Kelli is on top of her work, she will work on the blog.

6:00 pm – Dinner

Whoever is the least busy will generally cook the evening meal. We generally cook simple, healthy, vegetarian meals during the week.

7:00 pm – 10:00 pm – The Late Shift

Captain Kelli on the Sail Boat A Day in the Life of a Digital Nomad Working from a Sailboat

Kelli works for a US-based company; she generally schedules her work meetings between 7 pm – 10 pm every night, which is 9 am – 12 pm for her colleagues on the West Coast. This time difference is our least favorite thing about being digital nomads in Europe, as we would love to clear our workload during the day, but it’s a small price to wake up in the Med.

While Kelli has her meetings, I will work on back-end blog tasks like updating old articles, link building, and topic research.

10:00 pm – Bed Time

Usually, we wrap up around ten, occasionally later, but hopefully earlier. We are usually completely beaten by the time we climb into bed, and we might watch a bit of telly and fall asleep.

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That’s what a typical work day looks like aboard our sailboat. It’s probably a lot less exciting than most people imagine. However, it gives us structure and allows us to remain productive through the week so that come Friday morning, we feel pretty good about hauling anchor and setting sail for somewhere new, knowing we put in a solid week of work.

The Best and Worst Bits About Working From a Sailboat

The Best Bits About A Day in the Life Working from a Sailboat as a Digital Nomad

There are some really nice things about being able to work from our boat.

  • The view – Not many people get an office like ours with an everchanging ocean view.
  • Autonomy and flexibility – Don’t feel like working? Don’t. Go for a swim, take a walk into town, or read on the beach.
  • You can protect your time – For Kelli, especially, physical distance and time zone differences provide a buffer from colleagues who want to schedule meetings or ‘catch up for a chat.’ Working remotely from a different continent allows only a small window for essential meetings and plenty of time when everyone is offline when she can focus on dedicated work time.
  • Inspiration – As content creators, life aboard gives us a constant source of inspiration.

The Worst Bits About A Day in the Life Working from a Sailboat as a Digital Nomad

Working from a sailboat is not all good and it’s not for everyone, there are some serious downsides to this lifestyle. Here are some of our biggest struggles as digital nomads afloat.

  • No separation from work and home—While I mentioned above how good it is to have the option to set work aside and do something else, that is often easier said than done. When your office is also your home and your vehicle, the line between ‘work-life’ and ‘home life’ can become blurred, and it can be easy to fall out of a healthy balance.
  • Less-than-ideal hours—Living in the Med and having clients and colleagues in the US results in less-than-ideal hours, which can result in long days.
  • Working from a boat can be very uncomfortable – Cramped, without air conditioning or proper seating and desks, working long hours from the boat is not always the most comfortable situation.
  • Weather – Rolling swell, summer heat, and strong winds that threaten to blow us off our anchor, weather can create a stressful work environment.
  • Inconsistency and Interruptions – A storm that blows up out of nowhere, a long voyage between decent anchorages, breakdowns and other surprises can throw a wrench in well laid plans and disrupt productivity.

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If you have a question or comment about living and working from a sailboat, let us know below!

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